La Moneda Palace in Santiago, Chile
This is an acrylic fridge souvenir depicting La Moneda Palace Santiago, Chile. Palacio de La Moneda is the seat of the President of the Republic of Chile. La Moneda was originally a colonial mint (moneda means coin), and was designed by Italian architect Joaquín Toesca. Construction began in 1784 and it was opened in 1805, while still under construction. The production of coins in Chile took place at La Moneda from 1814 to 1929. Paths leading down from the plaza give access to the underground Palacio de La Moneda Cultural Center, which hosts a range of exhibitions on Chilean culture and history. The building has been subject to several modifications throughout the years, made by different presidents. The last great restoration of the building was carried out after the 1973 military coup, when large portions of the building were destroyed or damaged. It is currently listed on the UNESCO website.
The Palacio de la Moneda is built in a pure neoclassical style with Roman Doric influences. The building’s wide, horizontal shape and rectangular composition conveys strength and stability. Its main façade faces Moneda street, and its rooms are distributed along the transverse and longitudinal axes forming several patios. Behind this façade lie three patios: the Patio de los Cañones, which functions as an entrance hall; a covered patio; and finally the Patio de los Naranjos, where presidential ceremonies take place. It is the only structure in the pure Italian neoclassical style that exists in Latin America. Joaquín Toesca had worked on many public buildings in colonial Chile, including the Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral, before he was contracted to design the new royal mint that would become the Palacio de la Moneda. Works on the building started in 1784, with building materials arriving the following year from around Chile and the world. Toesca died in 1799, before seeing his work finished, and military engineer Agustin Cavallero took over the project.